Ban on bar crawls in island resort curbs drunken antics

Ban on bar crawls in island resort curbs drunken antics

A ban on bar crawls, soliciting customers and large parties in the popular resort of Laganas on the island of Zakynthos has immeasurably improved life in the area, according to local authorities who have become accustomed over the years to scenes of drunken rampages by young tourists.

The restrictions came into force this summer after drinking binges at the resort, long favored by British tourists in particular due to its nonstop nightlife and cheap alcohol, fueled constant upheaval, sometimes leading young revelers to the hospital. The resort also suffered bad press as media reports would often be accompanied with photographs of young, drunken tourists passed out on roadsides.

After just a few months of the ban, things are already much better, Zakynthos Mayor Pavlos Kolokotsas told Kathimerini. “I am completely satisfied,” he said. “Violations have dropped significantly as have unsavory incidents from overdrinking.” He still works closely with local police, however, to ensure that transgressions don’t start creeping back. “Of course we stay up late,” he said, adding that he and the local police chief visit potential problem areas every night to keep tabs on developments.

Apart from prohibiting the bar crawls for which Laganas became known and stopping bar and club staff from hawking customers, the crackdown also applies to beach parties of more than 2,000 people.

The mayor said authorities have also cracked down on the serving of spiked alcohol and had been in contact with the British Embassy about the issue. Kolokotsas said he was confident the ban would not have a negative impact on tourism, noting that foreign arrivals have increased by 7 percent this year.

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